VSCO Film Gives Your Digital Images An Authentic Film Look

I have never been a huge preset guy. I love having total control over my images, so presets were never really a big thing to me. I also love shooting film, and no matter what kind of tinkering I do in Photoshop I never really nail that film look with my digital files. Then I discovered VSCO Film.

It was around December of last year I was cruising some different photographer's blogs when I came across this post on John Keatley's blog reviewing Visual Supply Co's film presets. I was intrigued because here is a photographer whose work I really admire and he is excited about some presets. I went and looked at the price of the presets and told myself, "not bad, but this is going to have to wait till after Christmas." So mid-January of this year I bought their Film 01 pack of presets, and I was blown away. The amount of time, care, and research that this company put into these presets was awesome. I clicked the preset for Ilford Hp5 (my favorite B&W film stock) and I was blown away by how much this digital image resembled my film work. With their release of Film 02 they restructured the "Tool Kit" that comes with the presets and it gives you so much fine control over your images. I think the images they display on their site are really a testament to how good their system works, I posted some of my favorites below. Also, make sure you take a look at the video up above which gives you a good walk through of how their preset systems work and explains it in more technical detail.

So what about you guys and girls, do you use presets or not? I am curious to hear what you guys think.

Photo: Andria Lindquist

Photo: Nordica Photography

Photo: Jeremy Cowart

Photo: Brian Rickey

Photo: Marcus Smith

Photo: Jeff Marsh
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Chris Lambeth's picture

Ha I went to High School with Andria! 

Great post. I'm interested to see how this compares to Alien Skin Exposure 4. I'd been thinking about buying Exposure and wasn't aware of anything that could compare, at least now I have some options. Thanks

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 I had used AS 3 or 2 (I forget it was a while ago), but for me I prefer VSCO over it. I love that they custom calibrate it for different camera platforms. I have both the Nikon and Canon ones for Film 02, and I tried to see the difference by trying the Canon ones on my Nikon files, and there really is a significant difference. This isn't just a simple preset that alters curves and split toning, it dives so much deeper.

Jon Sharman's picture

I had also looked at Alien Skin 4 and VSCO, and ended up buying Film 02.  How does Film 01 differ... is it totally different film profiles available, or is 02 just updated?  The B&Ws on 02 have been a bit of a disappointment, they're mostly very high speed films.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 Film 01 is different film stocks. I like the B&W's in Film 01 more than the color film stocks, and I prefer the color film stocks in Film 02 over the B&W selections. Film 01 has Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X... My two favorite B&W films.

Garrett Graham's picture

Looks interesting and fun, never hear of them.

Chip Kalback's picture

I felt the same way you did about presets until the same thing happened and I discovered VSCO Film via John Keatley's blog as well. I felt like presets always made images look too 'preset-ish' no matter how much I edited them but with VSCO Film that all changed.

Until everyone starts using VSCO. 

Earlier today I was looking into VSCO, then you post this. Awesome timing ;)

 Film 01 and Film 02 compliment each other very well. Purchase both if you can.

Just looked 120 a piece for presets? That seems a little steep no? Has anyone tried it with video in LR4?

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 If you buy one, they have a customer loyalty plan and you get a discount on anything else from there. I forget the amount of the discount, I want to say it was between 20% and 40%. I have messed with color grading video with it in LR4 and I love it. I unfortunately don't have any examples up online at the moment.

I got tired of trying to make my DSLR files look like film and feeling like a fraud so I went back to the real thing and I've never been happier.There's such a HUGE selection of different cameras and formats to choose from. It's more than just faking the look of film. When you use medium format for example the lenses will give you a completely different look to 35mm.

 I just loaded my first 4x5s. Now I need to buy scanner :)

Benicio Murray's picture

crazy price for presets. They look good but not for that $$. Fstoppers discount code perhaps..?

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 If you buy one, they have a customer loyalty plan and you get a
discount on anything else from there. I forget the amount of the
discount, I want to say it was between 20% and 40%.

Ett Venter's picture

I'm planning on buying these soon, but I'm not sure whether to buy Film 01 or Film 02? Advice?

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 If you buy one, they have a customer loyalty plan and you get a
discount on anything else from there. I forget the amount of the
discount, I want to say it was between 20% and 40%. For B&W I like Film 01's b&w film stocks for more. For color I prefer the film stocks in Film 02.

I've been using the vsco presets for a while now after a recommendation from a photog whose work i really admire - they're fantastic, and not just for the film emulation as the standard toolset is also very handy and well constructed. Worth the $$$

I've been using VSCO for months and love it. Before VSCO, I shunned all presets. These are awesome and certainly worth the money. That being said, no preset is a "one click solution". The VSCO presets definitely need intelligent tweaking and sometimes shouldn't be used. You can see VSCO work and real film work all over my site - www.hunterphotographic.com.

Funny enough - many of the examples given above don't even look like film (Cowart), but there not meant to either.

wow, such a big price for a few presets that you can create by your own spending 5-10 minutes :) (maybe less if you`re a pro). i think the real price for it is 5-10 bucks, no 119. :) c`mon.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

 There's actually a lot more work put into these presets then a normal "preset"

They are custom calibrated for specific camera makes. It isn't just some simple curves and split toning like most presets.

Jens Marklund's picture

Been wanting it for a few months now. It's a shame you can't trial it - and that they made more films into a different package. Would be cool to just get an update for the plug-in you bought. But I guess they want money since it's stupid to double your stuff for free.

If anyone want to share their VSCO, or have any discounts, please please let me know. Cheers

About system requirements - they tell they need 4 GB RAM on Aperture for Mac. Unfortunately, my iMac is one of the older ones, with just 2 GB. I wonder if it would work... (by the way, Aperture itself works on it).